DLA Piper has won the ‘Pro Bono Initiative of the Year’ at The Lawyer Awards 2022, recognising the firm’s efforts to support and advise Afghan people. The award, judged by a panel of senior peers from across the bar, private practice and in-house settings, commended the DLA Piper project which has since supported over 4,000 Afghans and their families, to date.
Led by Senior Associate Olivia Clark, the initiative sought to support the UK immigration sector, which had stepped up to the plate in support of the urgent needs of Afghan people in crisis, seeking relocation. The project utilised the firm’s technology, project management and legal resources to create a central platform to provide Afghans with the most relevant advice or connect them to the most relevant advisor. The project was developed in collaboration with the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (IPLA) and alongside a group of barristers including Allan Briddock from One Pump Court. DLA worked with such barristers to develop a training manual around navigating the complex and ever-changing legal routes to the UK; and further recruited a pool of translators and lawyers, initially internally and later from across the sector, to respond to the growing number of requests for advice.
The project has been a collaborative effort, and has included hundreds of immigration lawyers who volunteered their time pro bono. This included over 200 lawyers from Dechert, Osborne Clarke, Ropes Gray, Sidley Austin, Skadden Arps.
Olivia Clark, Senior Associate at DLA Piper and lead on the initiative, shares: “I’m grateful for the recognition our team has received for its work in supporting Afghans in their time of need. The success of the project, and the level and volume of support it was able to provide to those in crisis, are down to the hard work of lawyers across the immigration sector, and colleagues from a host of pro bono teams. The same resources have since also supported over 3,500 Ukrainian people and their families facing similar struggles.”
The project continues to provide support, alongside the Afghan Legal Talent Initiative, run with Talent Beyond Borders, which supports employers in identifying and hiring at-risk Afghan lawyers and judges. You can find out more about DLA Piper’s global pro bono efforts by visiting its pro bono portal, here.
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